Digital innovations and consumer trends are constantly transforming the marketing world. Running a business requires you to stay on top of these trends to keep up with the competition and stay afloat.
The most coveted spot in the advertising world? The front page of Google, naturally.
Trying to get your product or service listed on the front page of Google is no easy feat. Even an exceptional SEO strategy is no guarantee you’ll make it these days! That’s where paid advertising comes in.
If you’re acquainted with the marketing world then you’ve probably heard of Google Ads.
It’s the mother of all PPC platforms, nonchalantly surveying all of its competitors from its high horse. Google Ads takes your products or services straight to the front page of the Google SERPs, which is why most businesses are resolutely jumping on the Google Ads bandwagon.
In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about Google Ads. We’ve got a lot to cover, so let’s get started.
What is SEM?
Search engine marketing (SEM) is a blanket term used to describe activities geared towards promoting a website by increasing search engine results page (SERP) visibility. The main reason SEM is so effective is that it allows advertisers to reach motivated customers who are ready to purchase with targeted ads.
The branch of SEM that we’ll discuss today is pay-per-click (PPC), which is a specific type of online advertising where advertisers pay for each click on their advertisement. Google Ads is the most popular SEM platform with 80% of businesses leveraging it for PPC.
What is Google Ads?
Google Ads is Google’s paid advertising platform where businesses can share advertisements, videos, product listings, or service offerings to web users. It operates using a PPC model where the advertiser pays per each click on their advertisement.
With Google Ads, marketers can create and share targeted ads for both mobile and desktop devices. Displaying advertisements with Google Ads results in your business showing up in the SERPs when your target audience is searching for the products or services your business offers.
PPC advertising with Google Ads is the most effective way to reach your target audience when they’re searching and drive qualified leads to your website.
Why advertise on Google?
The real question here is: Why wouldn’t you advertise on Google?
Google is the world’s most used search engine.
Think about it. Where do you turn when you need to look up directions, find a recipe, or get a quick answer to a question you’d rather not ask a real-life person? Although some people might use other search engines like Bing or DuckDuckGo, most people will answer “Google”.
To answer this question, we’re going to let the statistics do the talking.
- Google processes more than 83,787 search queries per second and 5 billion per day.
- A whopping 90% of all desktop searches happen on Google.
- The average person performs 3-4 Google searches each day (if you’re like me, that number is probably more like 50…)
- Google accounts for 76% of the search engine market and owns 73% of the paid search market share.
Long story short: If you want your business’s products and services to appear in the SERPs pages of Google, you should be investing in Google Ads.
Considering there are hundreds of thousands of businesses already using Google Ads to reach customers, you’ll need to ensure your results aren’t getting lost in a sea of competition by running highly optimized campaigns (we’ll get to that soon!)
So what’s in it for you? Well, according to Google, advertisers make 8x what they spend on Google Ads. Moreover, Google Ads convert 50% more effectively than organic search results. It means a lot more business.
How does Google Ads work?
Google Ads operates using an auction system. This means that businesses must “win” spots for their advertisements to appear when searchers type in relevant keywords. To achieve this you’ll need to optimize your Quality Score and input your bid amount. The higher that score is (along with your bid amount), the more effective your ad positioning.
Here’s a look at the factors that’ll affect your Quality Score:
- Google ad relevance to keyword queries.
- Keyword relevance to an ad group.
- How relevant your landing page is to your ad.
- Historical CTR of the ad.
- The overall performance of your account.
The higher your Quality Score, the more effective your Google ads will be. Google rewards advertisers with high Quality Scores by lowering the costs of PPC and increasing SERPs exposure.
Before we dive into how Google Ads works, you’ll need to understand some key terms:
- Ad campaign: Consists of your ad groups and is directed towards achieving a certain objective.
- Ad groups: A set of keywords, budget allocations, and targeting methods within the same campaign.
- Ad Rank: Determines where your ad shows up when it appears on Google. It’s related to your bid, quality score, and other factors.
- Bid: A bid refers to the maximum amount an advertiser is willing to fork out when someone clicks on their advertisement.
- Conversion: This is the term used to describe when someone clicks on your ad and takes further actions such as making a purchase, downloading a resource, or calling you.
- Cost-per-click (CPC): How much you pay when someone clicks on your ad. It doesn’t necessarily correlate to the entire bid price.
- Keywords: If you’re familiar with SEO practices you’ll have heard this term before. Keywords are the specific words or phrases that searchers type into the search engine when they’re looking for something.
- Quality Score: A metric that reflects how relevant your chosen keywords are to what you’re advertising and the page where the ad directs the user (the landing page).
How to run a Google Ads campaign
If you’re ready to run your own Google Ads campaign, you’ll be glad to know it’s a relatively simple process. We’ve broken it down into bite-sized steps for you.
1. Set up your account and organize your campaigns
First things first, you’ll need to set up your account. This requires:
- Your email address (must be a Google account)
- Business website address
- Payment information
You’ll also need to set your campaign goals, which can be one of the following options:
- Get more calls
- Get more website sales or signups
- Get more visits to your physical location
Next, you’ll need to designate the geographic area that you want your ads to target. For local businesses this is simple. If you operate an eCommerce store that caters to a wider audience, you’ll need to do a bit more thinking.
Consider where the majority of your customers are, but remember that choosing a geographic area doesn’t limit the people who can see your ads.
When it comes to organizing your account, it’s important to remember that there are two levels of organization within Google Ads: Campaigns and ad groups (you can refer back to our list of key terms). There are 5 main types of Ads campaigns:
- Search Network campaign: Search appears on Google SERPs, Maps, and other Google partners like YouTube and Google Shopping.
- Display Network campaign: Display visual ads through products like Gmail and YouTube.
- Shopping campaign: Display ads on Google Shopping using product data to determine suitable categories.
- App campaign: Ad will be displayed on Search, YouTube, Google Play, Google Display Network, and other partners that display advertisements on apps.
- Video Campaign: Ad is promoted using video ads on YouTube/Google Display Network sites.
It’s a good idea to create separate campaigns, ad groups, and keyword lists to ensure your ads are relevant to what your target audience is searching for. Remember, the more focused your ads are, the better you’ll be able to reach people who are interested in what you have to offer and poised to take further action.
2. Outline your budget
You’re in complete control of how much you spend with Google Ads. You’ll need to outline how much you want to spend on your campaigns each day and your bid amounts.
Your Google Ads budget should be in line with your digital marketing budget and reflect your overall business goals. Expenditure should be prioritized based on what you want to achieve from specific campaigns. Remember, you can always adjust your budget and bid amounts in the future if your priorities change.
3. Choose your keywords
Now for the fun part. When choosing keywords you want to select terms that you think your target audience will search for when looking for the product or service your business offers.
There are plenty of tools out there that you can leverage for keyword research. Google Ads comes with its own tool called Keyword Planner, which generates a list of sample keywords based on your business theme. It also estimates bid amounts. This can help you understand which keywords are out of your price range and which are more within your budget.
More competitive keywords (those with a high search volume) are typically more expensive. At first, you might want to consider avoiding these competitive keywords so you don’t blow your whole budget. Less competitive keywords can still yield high exposure rates while helping you to understand whether your campaigns are working.
For example, the term “luxury watches” has a lot of competition, whereas something like “black leather strap watches” will yield more refined results to the audience.
You’ll also need to determine the keyword match type. You can select between:
- Broad match: Ads can show up in searches related to your keyword.
- Phrase match: Ads can show up in searches that include the same meaning as your keyword.
- Exact match: Ads can show up for searches that contain the exact keyword.
Keyword match types allow you to determine whether your ad shows up for a wider audience whose searches relate to your product or service, or whether you hone in on more specific searches.
4. Set your landing pages
A landing page is where people are directed after they click on your ad. It’s important to make sure your landing pages are relevant to the product or service mentioned in the ad, as well as optimized with powerful call-to-actions (CTAs) and compelling copy. After all, this is the point where your customers will decide whether to convert or not.
5. Get writing!
Next, it’s time to start writing your ads. Remember that your ads are often the first impression people will have of your business—so make them good! You’ll need to write copy for the following sections of your ad:
- Description URL
Ensure your ads contain relevant keywords by breaking up your campaign into ad groups. You can then write unique ads for each group, to improve relevance and Quality Score.
Here are a few tips for writing great copy for your ads:
- Use clear, concise, and actionable language specific to the user’s search query
- Include relevant CTAs
- Honesty is the best policy, so don’t try to sell something you aren’t offering.
Of course, if writing great ad copy isn’t your forte, you could always hire a professional SEO copywriter!
6. Release your first ad campaign out into the big wide world!
You’ve sorted out all the logistics, set aside your budget, and crafted ad copy that searches aren’t going to be able to say no to. You’re ready to hit submit! As with all things marketing, you’ll need to A/B test your campaign results regularly. Change things up to find out which campaign and keywords your audience responds to best. There’s always room for improvement, after all!
Ready to discover your audience with Google Ads?
If you’re not already using Google Ads to reach your audience where they’re searching, it’s time to start. PPC advertising with Google Ads is a sure-fire way to increase leads and customers, tap into a huge audience, and achieve higher ROI on your marketing spend.
Before you start marketing your products and services to your customers (whether that’s through PPC, content marketing, or any other form of digital marketing) you’ll need to outline your buyer personas. Knowing who your audience is is the key to understanding how they search for, engage with, and —ultimately— purchase your products or services.
Getting a firm grip on who your audience allows you to create more targeted digital marketing and advertising campaigns that increase conversions and bring you one step close to achieving your business goals.
Ready to leap into the world of PPC? Download our free buyer persona template today and discover your audience.